Today’s Des Moines Register poll, the survey that has the best track record of predicting the Iowa caucus, has some intriguing clues as to what the results might be.
Ted Cruz, battered by attacks on his eligibility to be president and opposition to ethanol subsidies, has lost ground from the last poll. But he still leads Donald Trump by 25 percent to 22 percent, with Marco Rubio at 12 percent and Ben Carson at 11 percent. Trump has promised to return frequently to Iowa and has stepped up his attacks on Cruz prior to the February 1 vote.
But that may not be enough. A full 56 percent of likely Iowa caucus goers haven’t picked a candidate or say they could change their mind. They more likely to say they don’t support the insurgent tea-party movement; they report household income of $70,000 or more; or they have a college degree or postgraduate education. Those are all demographic groups Trump does poorly in.
In addition, Cruz has more potential for growing his support than Trump. The Texas senator is the second choice of almost half of Trump supporters. but Trump is the second choice of only 25 percent of Cruz supporters.
Finally, the Register’s poll analysis concludes that Cruz’s biggest margins come from demographic groups that are historically the most likely to show up for a caucus meeting that is likely to last between two and three hours on a cold, winter night. The Register reports these groups include “very conservative voters, seniors, tea party supporters, evangelical conservatives and churchgoers, and residents of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, which is represented by Representative Steve King, who endowed his endorsement on Cruz in November.”